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HMNZS Leander
British light cruiser HMS Leander (75) underway at sea in 1945
Career (United Kingdom) Naval Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg
Name: HMS Leander
Builder: HMNB Devonport
Laid down: 1 August 1928
Launched: 13 July 1929
Commissioned: 23 July 1931
Recommissioned: 27 August 1945
Decommissioned: February 1948
Out of service: loaned to Royal New Zealand Navy 30 April 1937
Identification: Pennant number: 75
Fate: Sold for scrapping 15 December 1949
Scrapped 15 January 1950
Career (New Zealand) Naval Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg
Name: HMNZS Leander
Commissioned: 30 April 1937
Out of service: Repair and refit at Boston 8 May 1944
Identification: Pennant number: 75
Fate: Returned to Royal Navy 27 August 1945
General characteristics
Class & type: Leander-class light cruiser
Displacement: 7,270 tons standard
9,740 tons full load
Length: 554.9 ft (169.1 m)
Beam: 56 ft (17 m)
Draught: 19.1 ft (5.8 m)
Installed power: 72,000 shaft horsepower (54,000 kW)
Propulsion: Four Parsons geared steam turbines
Six boilers
Four shafts
Speed: 32.5 knots (60 km/h)
Range: 5,730 nmi at 13 knots
Complement: 570 officers and enlisted

Original configuration:
8[1] × BL 6 inch Mk XXIII naval guns[2]
4 × 4 in guns
12 × 0.5 in machine guns

8 × 21 in torpedo tubes
Aircraft carried: One catapult-launched aircraft
Original type was a Fairey Seafox
catpult and aircraft later replaced with Supermarine Walrus

HMNZS Leander was a light cruiser which served with the Royal New Zealand Navy during World War II. She was the lead ship of a class of eight ships, the Leander-class light cruiser and was initially named HMS Leander.


Leander was launched at Devonport on 13 July 1929. She was commissioned into the Royal Navy as HMS Leander on 23 July 1931. Along with Achilles she served in the New Zealand Division of the Royal Navy.

In 1941 the New Zealand Division became the Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN) and she was commissioned as HMNZS Leander in September 1941.

In World War II, Leander served initially in the Pacific and Indian Oceans. Commander Stephen Roskill was posted as the ship's captain in 1941. In action on 27 February 1941, she sank the Italian armed merchantman Ramb I near the Maldives, rescuing 113 of her crew. On 23 March 1941, Leander intercepted and captured the Vichy French merchant Charles L.D. in the Indian Ocean between Mauritius and Madagascar. On 14 April, Leander deployed for support of military operations in Persian Gulf and, on 18 April, joined the aircraft carrier Hermes and the light cruiser Emerald. On 22 April, Leander was released from support duties in the Persian Gulf and took part in search for German raider Pinguin south of Maldives.

In June 1941, the Leander was transferred to the Mediterranean Fleet and was active against the Vichy French during the Syria-Lebanon Campaign. After serving in the Mediterranean, the Leander returned to the Pacific Ocean in 1943.

On 13 July 1943, Leander was with Rear Admiral Walden Lee Ainsworth's Task Group 36.1 of three light cruisers: Leander and the US ships Honolulu and St. Louis. The task group also included ten destroyers. At 01:00 the Allied ships established radar contact with Japanese cruiser Jintsu, which was accompanied by five destroyers near Kolombangara in the Solomon Islands. In the ensuing Battle of Kolombangara, Jintsu was sunk and all three Allied cruisers were hit by torpedoes and severely damaged. Leander was so badly damaged that she took no further part in the war. She was repaired, first in Auckland and then proceeded to a full refit in Boston.

She returned to the Royal Navy on 27 August 1945. In 1946 she was involved in the Corfu Channel Incident. She was scrapped in 1950.


  1. Lenton & Colledge 1968 p.39
  2. Campbell 1985 p.34


See alsoEdit

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